25 July 2022

Stockfish vs. ChessBase in Court

The complaint Stockfish vs. ChessBase (July 2021) was concisely stated at that time by the Stockfish project:-

ChessBase concealed from their customers Stockfish as the true origin of key parts of their products.

At the end of June 2022, in Stockfish sues ChessBase; The Court Hearing scheduled (chessdom.com), we learned,

Leading Stockfish developers have filed suit against ChessBase to enforce their license termination claiming Chessbase has "repeatedly violated central obligations of the GPLv3 license". The court hearing in the case Tord Romstad and Stéphane Nicolet vs. ChessBase GmbH will take place [in Munich] on Monday, July 4th, and Stockfish calls all interested parties to attend the hearing.

A summary of the hearing was posted in Stockfish vs ChessBase, Round 1 (lichess.org). It started,

On July 4th this year, after a lot of waiting, Stockfish and Chessbase finally got their first day in court. [...] The case was of interest to free software advocates and chess players everywhere, so we sent a Lichess developer to the courtroom in Munich to witness events firsthand and report on them. We also spoke with ChessBase CEO Matthias Wüllenweber.

The post pointed to 'Text of the interview': Full Matthias Wüllenweber Interview (lichess.org). It in turn started,

Q: As you understand it, why are the Stockfish and Leela teams upset with you? • A: In the publication process of Fat Fritz 2, I made several mistakes. Consequently, the Stockfish authors are now quite angry at us, and I can fully understand this.

The Lichess 'Round 1' post ended,

The court will meet again on March 20th, 2023 unless a settlement is reached first. If a ruling is made there could be appeals afterwards. Altogether, this case could take years to resolve.

For informed user comments, see Stockfish vs ChessBase, Round 1 (reddit.com). One of the principles of reporting on legal cases is to follow a case to the end, come what may.

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